Review: SmileBooks Photo Book / Album Printing Service
SmileBooks is the easiest Photo Book site I used and it offers terrific creative options, with everything completely customizable. This makes them a winner in my opinion. I downloaded SmileBook's free photo book software, which enabled me to create and customize my photo book offline, as my photo book file resided on my hard drive. No hassle dealing with a slow or no internet connection while creating a book.
Smilebooks also offers greeting cards, calendars and prints. Create your own personalized SmileBooks Greeting Cards choosing from hundreds of unique portrait and landscape design templates in five different formats. They're also offering seven different Calendar formats with numerous templates.
Smilebooks offers an assortment of 170+ templates, which are completely customizable. You can easily move, resize and delete elements as well as add descriptive text and headings in various fonts and colors. Smilebooks features a collection of 400 page backgrounds with real photographs, or you can use your own. While SmileBooks has basic editing and cropping features, I recommend that you choose your photos ahead of time and edit them if necessary in another program such as Photoshop Elements or Corel Paint Shop Pro.
SmileBooks also lets you create scrapbook pages in other software (such as Photoshop Elements) and use digi kits and other scrapbooking elements to embellish pages and then import them into SmileBooks. You would import those pages as jpegs as backgrounds in Smilebooks, then use them as background images.
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Creating a photo book is quite simple. You can use the SmileBook Assistant to automatically fill your book or choose to create your album manually. Select the number of pages for your book then select the photos and drop them into place. If you use the Photo Assistant, it will automatically place images by date taken, but you can easily reorder them. Select a background and add text if desired and choose a cover option, then transmit and order your book. During the printing process, images are automatically corrected. If you have previously edited images in another program, during the book creation you will be prompted to disable to automatic correction.
While the software is pretty intuitive, there are 45 how-to video tutorials in the Smilebooks forum as well as on YouTube.
You can add frame effects such as drop shadows and colored frames to your photos, use shapes as frames for your pictures by adding a mask, use your photos as full page spread with bleed to edge or a two-page spread, fade background pictures, add text anywhere on the page, and more.
SmileBooks Design Service
SmileBooks has introduced a new SmileBooks Design Service. You just have to select the photos and the photo book style and the SmileBooks design team will create your book for you for just $1 per page. Learn more about SmileBooks Design Service. Read our review of Smilebook Design Service.
Photo Book Options
Photo Book Paper and Sizes
Choose from eight sizes:
- 5.5x5 Pocket Book
- 8x6 Compact Book
- 8x8 Mini SmileBook
- 8x11 Classic Book
- 11x8 Panorama Book
- 12x12 Deluxe Book
- 16.5" x 12"Panorama Professional SmileBook
- 11x14 Portrait Professional
All books have a minimum of 26 pages; new pages may be added in groups of eight.
Smilebooks has the thickest paper of the sites I visited: 135lb extra heavy digital print paper compared to a standard 100lb found with most other companies. 200lb paper is used for the Panorama Professional books and 100lb paper is used for 5x5 Booklets. There is also an option for silver halide photo paper and lustre paper with many books. Click here for photo book paper comparisons among popular companies.
Photo Book Cover Options
Faux Leather (brown, black, cream), Premium Linen (silver, copper, black, blue or red), Hard Cover, Soft Cover and Booklet options are available, depending on the photo book size. You can use a photo as a full page bleed on the cover as well as add text to the cover (not available if using faux leather). Click here for descriptions of the various types of photo book covers.
Should You Use SmileBooks for Your Photo Books?
I used Smilebooks to create a photo book of my trip to Greece and I was delighted with the results. The photos reproduced beautifully, colors were crisp and brilliant, the paper was thick and the binding seems sturdy. It makes a lovely coffee table book. If you are looking for free, easy-to-use software program that produces high quality photo books, SmileBooks is your answer. Books are competitively priced. Average production time is 5-7 business days and shipping is reasonable. Click here for a comparison chart of photo book services.
Smilebooks Discounts - Promo Codes
- Get 25% OFF 8X11 photo books with coupon BOOKS4DADS.
- Get 25% off Mobile and Tablet Cases coupon code CASE4DADS
- Get 30% off 8x12 canvas prints with code DAYFORDAD30